Selection teams set to challenge national squad in special PSL tourney

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By John Bryan Ulanday

PHILIPPINE Superliga selection squads Team Sparkle and Team Shine stand in the way of the Philippine women’s volleyball team as they are set to clash in the special conference named PSL Super Cup next month as part of the country’s preparation for the 30th Southeast Asian Games.

Cignal’s versatile playmaker Alohi Robins-Hardy headlines Team Sparkle while veteran Petron hitter Aiza Maizo-Pontillas will lead Team Shine as announced by the league Thursday night just right after the Invitational Conference won by F2 Logistics.

Joining Hardy, who was cut from the 14-man SEAG national team pool due to lack of Philippine passport, are her HD Spikers teammates Roselyn Doria, May Luna and Ranya Musa together with PLDT’s Jerrili Malabanan, Jasmine Nabor and Alyssa Eroa.

Judith Abil, Caitlyn Viray, Dimdim Pacres and Nica Gulliman of Marinerang Pilipina as well as Jen Reyes, EJ Laure, Elaine Kasilag, EJ Laure and Mina Aganon of Foton complete Team Sparkle to be mentored by Vilet Ponce-De Leon.

Meanwhile, Maizo-Pontillas will have an equally solid support in Team Shine spearheaded by Sta. Lucia’s MJ Phillips, Eli Soyud, Amanda Villanueva and Rebecca Rivera with Bia General, Ria Meneses, Fiola Ceballos, Patty Orendain and Mean Mendrez of Generika-Ayala.

Also in the squad to be coached by Carl Dimaculangan are Petron’s Denden Lazaro together with F2’s Des Clemente, Fritz Gallenero and Alex Cabanos.

These two Superliga selection teams are expected to provide strong challenge to the 14-man national team pool of coach Shaq Delos Santos. It will serve as the final build-up of the Nationals for their upcoming campaign in the 30th SEA Games set Nov. 30 — Dec. 11 here.

Aside from Team Shine and Team Sparkle, a university team from Japan is also invited to join the PSL Super Cup slated Nov. 5-7.